The effects of proteasome inhibition in chronic lymphocytic leukemia and prostate cancer

Stacey Lynn Ruiz, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


The use of proteasome inhibitors in cancer has received much attention with the recent FDA approval of bortezomib (Velcade/PS-341). However, in the chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) clinical trial, bortezomib was not as effective as it was in vitro. Accordingly, results in prostate cancer were not remarkable, although regression of lymphadenopathy was observed. This response was also seen in CLL. The proteasome degrades ∼80% of intracellular proteins. Although specific pathways affected by proteasome inhibitors are known, there are still unidentified mechanisms by which they induce apoptosis. The efficacy and mechanism of action of the reversible proteasome inhibitor bortezomib were compared to the novel irreversible inhibitor NPI-0052 in this study, and their mechanisms of action in CLL and prostate cancer were examined. NPI-0052 inhibited proteasome activity and induced apoptosis with more rapid kinetics than bortezomib in CLL. Inhibition of proteasome activity with NPI-0052 was also more durable. Interestingly, bortezomib is cleared from the serum within 15min, which is insufficient time for bortezomib to effectively inhibit the proteasome. However, only 5min exposure was needed for NPI-0052 to produce maximal proteasome inhibition. The data suggest that bortezomib's slow kinetics and reversible nature limit its potential in vivo and the use of NPI-0052 should be considered. In examining the mechanism(s) by which bortezomib and NPI-0052 induce apoptosis in CLL, both were found to elicit the ER stress pathway. A stromal cell co-culture system prevented apoptosis induced by both proteasome inhibitors, suggesting that if such factors in vivo were responsible for reducing bortezomib's efficacy, NPI-0052 would not prove useful either. Finally, Lyn, a Src family kinase (SFK), was decreased in response to bortezomib and NPI-0052 and correlated with apoptosis induction in CLL and prostate cancer. Both proteasome inhibitors specifically targeted Lyn rather than SFKs in general. SFKs are overexpressed in cancer and involved in cell signaling, survival, and metastasis. In prostate cancer cells, both proteasome inhibition and Lyn-silencing significantly inhibited migration. Preliminary evidence also suggested that Lyn downregulation decreases invasion potential. Together, these data suggest that proteasome inhibitors are potential candidates for anti-metastasic therapy and further investigation is warranted for the use of Lyn-targeted therapy to treat metastases.

Subject Area

Oncology|Cellular biology

Recommended Citation

Ruiz, Stacey Lynn, "The effects of proteasome inhibition in chronic lymphocytic leukemia and prostate cancer" (2006). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3209533.